Kale chips are kind of like sunsets. They’re amazing and beautiful and worthy of thousands of words…and when you get behind the camera to photograph them, no angle or type of lighting can do them justice!
If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I don’t have one single kale chip recipe posted here. It’s okay. You can gasp. I did.
A few years ago, as kale rose in the ranks of super healthy veggies, the kale chip movement boomed. I was late to the party, but am so glad I finally joined.
Since so much of my world takes place in the blogosphere—aka the world of kale chip-loving bloggers and readers who’ll do anything to eat more greens—I often forget that many people have never tried kale chips, let alone kale. I was reminded of this when I took these very kale chips to a gathering last week. The kale chips weren’t on the table for more than ten minutes and they were already the talk of town!
I love it when perfect strangers rave over my recipes. I fear that my friends and family will sometimes tell me my food is delicious out of obligation and niceness because they don’t want to hurt my feelings. But when strangers who know nothing about me or my life come up to me begging for the recipe, my heart soars!
You’ll commonly find three types of kale in your grocery store, which are pictured above. At the top is lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale). On the right is red Russian kale (my personal favorite!). At bottom left is curly green kale, which also comes in a red/purplish shade.
You can use any type of kale for chips. I think curly green kale makes for the best kale chips. The leaves’ many crinkles and crevices allow for lots of crunch. In their most basic form, kale chips are nothing more than baked kale seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. But why linger in the land of basic when you can easily turn things up a notch with just a few extra ingredients? That was exactly my thought as I made these kale chips.
I happened to have some tahini tucked away in the fridge along with lemons. To enhance the robust flavor of the tahini, I grabbed some smoked paprika from my spice drawer and added it to the mix. It was a good move! As the kale chips baked, they almost smelled like bacon. I know. Serious stuff.
Once the chips cooled, I sampled about three fistfuls before quickly packaging them up for the party so that I wouldn’t eat the entire batch, which—even to someone like me with a lot of self control—is entirely possible! A woman at the party told me that if she could just stand around the bowl of kale chips nibbling on them for the rest of the night, she’d be happy. Hearing that made me happy, too.
A few tips before you dive in:
- The dressing/seasoning mixture that you’ll toss the kale leaves with is very thick. Don’t be alarmed and don’t be tempted to add water to thin it out. Just make sure you massage it evenly into the kale leaves and you’ll be fine.
- When it comes to seasoning your chips, I’ve given you a range of 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of Herbamare or salt. (I went with 1 scant teaspoon of Herbamare.) One teaspoon will obviously make them saltier, so it’s up to you and your tastes.
- Make sure to arrange the kale leaves evenly on the baking sheets without overlapping them. They can be close together, but don’t crowd them. I fit the entire batch on two baking sheets, but if your sheets are small you may need to add a third sheet or bake them in batches. Crowding the pan will steam the leaves and not make the crispy—which defeats the whole purpose of the kale chip!
- Watch your kale chips closely as they bake. In my oven, they took about 15 minutes to bake and I rotated the pans once halfway through. Even though it’s hardy, kale is still a green and greens are delicate and love to burn. Around the 12 minute mark, stick close by the oven just to make sure your kale chips don’t turn into kale ash.
Now grab some kale, tie on your apron, and get chipping!
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the kale leaves in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, lemon zest, and Herbamare or salt. The mixture will be quite thick. Add it to the bowl with the kale leaves. Using your hands, work the tahini sauce throughout the kale leaves until they are all coated evenly.
- Arrange the kale leaves in even layers on the baking sheets. Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through baking, until brown and crisp. (The chips will continue to crisp up as they cool.)
- Enjoy! (Or store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to eat.)